The Lunar Society is delighted to welcome the publication and promote the dissemination of this major work on the development and advancement of progressive thought in the United States of America. We are, in particular, appreciative of the role Benjamin Franklin and the Franklin circle played in the development of the 18th Century Lunar Society and in the early stages of the Industrial Revolution in the United Kingdom. The Lunar Society was a small number of individuals, who helped change the face of Great Britain, Europe and the World. The development of The Lunar Society in Birmingham was contemporaneous with the ideological changes that occurred during the American Revolution. Franklin fitted the Lunar model as a polymath, scientist (especially in physics and electricity), inventor, activist, politician and diplomat.
The quoted generic definition of a republican, as “one who fights for the improvement of the people and their conditions of life”, resonates with the aims of the historical and modern Lunar Society and is not a reference to any political party. Franklin had a significant presence in Britain between 1757 and 1775 and a major influence as one of America’s founding fathers – “The first American”.
We are very pleased that the book coincides with the 250th anniversary, in 2021, of Franklin’s stay in the Midlands, the home of the Lunar Society, to whom in 1764 he introduced Dr William Small, co-founder of a playhouse, The Theatre Royal, and a major hospital, The General Hospital in Birmingham. Dr Small became a very significant member of The Lunar Society. He died and is buried in Birmingham.
We are also delighted that Dr Malcolm Dick OBE, a noted local and international expert on the Lunar Society, has agreed to review the book for The Midlands History Society.
Anton Chaitkin is an established expert and historian. Libraries are highly recommended to have his 1988 monograph, titled, “The Secret History of the Industrial Revolution” as well as this title.
Chaitkin prefaces his review of Franklin, the Lunar Society, and related networks, with an essential point:
“The secret to modern history is, that all the great breakthroughs in technology and living standards were deliberate projects for the improvement of humanity, guided by the principles of the American Declaration of Independence.” (from “Franklin’s Lunar Society and the Industrial Revolution,” by Marcia Merry Baker, 2003)